Monday, November 29, 2010

NSW police investigation of cruise ship death 'amateur'

THE initial police response to the cruise ship death of Dianne Brimble was amateur and unprofessional, an inquest has heard. Mark Brimble said his former wife's death was investigated by NSW Water Police, who were "not equipped" to handle the investigation.

He said investigators "had no experience in homicide investigations", even failing to take sufficient tapes for interviews and perform background checks on persons of interest.

Ms Brimble, 42, died on board a P&O cruise ship in September 2002 after consuming a toxic mix of alcohol and the drug fantasy.

In the final day of the inquest into Ms Brimble's death, Mr Brimble told the inquest his family believed NSW Police had failed to communicate with them and conduct the investigation in an acceptable manner.

In a moving submission, Mr Brimble told Balmain local court in Sydney's inner west that he felt like Michael Caton from iconic Australian movie The Castle. "I stand here just like any other Australian citizen... Prepared to fight for what's right," he told coroner Jacqueline Milledge. "All we're looking for is the truth... It seems the facts have been hindered along the way", he said.

As vice president of the Australian arm of the International Cruise Victims organisation, Mr Brimble called for greater security and an internationally recognised police presence to be aboard all cruise ships. "Cruise ships are like floating cities... and the key thing missing is a police force," he said.

Three men were charged over Ms Brimble's death, including Mark Wilhelm, in whose cabin her naked body was found and with whom she had sex. Earlier this year, Wilhelm was convicted of supplying the drug fantasy after a manslaughter charge was dropped.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Railroaded pilot seeks $45 million from Australian Government for wrongful conviction over alleged child sex offences

The incompetent and crooked Australian Federal Police again. This has long been a notorious case. The fact that the original conviction was comprehensively thrown out should mean he will get his money

An Australian pilot who spent almost 1000 days in prison after being wrongfully convicted of child sex offences will this week launch a $45 million lawsuit against the Australian government. The statement of claim by Fred Martens against the Commonwealth alleges Australian Federal Police withheld and removed evidence which they knew cleared him of the allegations.

Mr Martens' legal team expects to lodge the document in the Queensland Supreme Court in Cairns on Monday or Tuesday.

Mr Martens was jailed in 2006 for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl in Port Moresby. Queensland's Court of Appeal quashed the conviction in 2009 after Mr Martens' family was able to obtain flight records which proved Mr Martens was not in Port Moresby at the time of the offence.

The statement of claim alleges AFP officers deliberately concealed the existence of the aviation records at Mr Martens' court hearings, despite them being readily available from PNG authorities.

It alleges the AFP was more concerned with successfully prosecuting Mr Martens than investigating the facts of the case. "The defendants failed to investigate the matter to find the truth but instead endeavoured to amass evidence to bolster a case against the plaintiff regardless of its truth or falsity," the document alleges.

Mr Martens said because his passport had been confiscated and his funds frozen while he was awaiting trial in Australia, he was not able to fly to PNG to prepare his own defence. He said a magistrate had ordered the AFP to investigate any leads raised by his legal team but the statement of claim alleges officers failed to do so.

"Had the defendants carried out competent and honest investigations the results of such investigations would have demonstrated that not only did the plaintiff not commit any offence against (the alleged victim) but that he could not have done so as alleged."

Mr Martens is claiming $45 million in losses, including for the death of his infant daughter Stephanie who died in PNG of malaria because he was unable to provide funds to care for her. The statement of claim also alleges that a number of Mr Martens' PNG businesses, which included the nation's Royal Flying Doctor Service, were lost or collapsed because he was not there to run them.

It also states he lost several large properties because he was not there to secure them. Mr Martens said the properties had since been taken over by settlers and removing them would result in violent confrontations.

The Australian government will have 28 days to respond to the statement of claim.


Honest cop on the outer in Victoria

To be expected in what is probably the crookedest force in the country

A "COLD war" has broken out between Victoria Police's two most senior officers. Chief Commissioner Simon Overland and Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones are said to be barely speaking following a clash of personalities.

In an official statement, a Victoria Police spokeswoman described their relationship as "robust". "Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones and Chief Commissioner Simon Overland have a robust relationship," the spokeswoman said. "At times they do disagree on things, however both work effectively and professionally together."

The statement was released after a senior Victoria Police source revealed the rift to the Sunday Herald Sun. "They basically don't talk any more. "Ken's had a word with Simon about a few issues and Simon's basically cut him off as a result," the source, who is close to both men, said.

The collapse in relations between the state's two most senior lawmen follows a series of disagreements between the two over the direction of the force.

Insiders say Sir Ken - who was widely regarded as the natural successor for the chief commissioner's role - is unhappy enough to leave and continue his career outside Victoria. They said he remained in the role in case the Liberal Party, which despite public utterances is unlikely to support Mr Overland, takes power after yesterday's close election. A Brumby Government victory may mean Sir Ken could move to another job within months, the sources said.

Sir Ken is believed to have been disappointed he has had to share the "acting Chief Commissioner" role when Mr Overland is away with fellow Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe.

He has differed with Mr Overland on a number of issues, including the influence Spring St has on the force. "The minute policing becomes political, the public loses confidence in it," he said. The Welsh-born policeman is also regarded as being in greater favour of transparency and an independent force executive in which sworn officers, not public servants, are in the majority.

He also broke ranks on proposed changed arrest rules which Mr Overland said would not change the position at law. But Sir Ken was concerned the new policy "unwittingly constrains the power of arrest".

"They have had a difference of opinion on a number of issues," a source said. "And Simon has decided the best way to deal with (Sir Ken) is to isolate him."

Sir Ken was knighted in the UK in 2008 for his services to police. He also served for several years in Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption before starting with Victoria Police in July 2009.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Queensland Police cleared officer who was later found guilty of using excessive force

Finding a fellow cop guilty of anything is an Everest climb for them -- and they rarely get to the top

QUEENSLAND Police Service has received another stinging rebuke on its internal investigations after it cleared an officer that has since been found guilty of using "excessive force" on a teenager during a violent arrest.

In the wake of criticisms by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal accused the force of having unsatisfactory and archaic procedures when dealing with its own, saying that Sergeant Damien Chapman was "not authorised justified or excused by law" when he struck 15 year-old Graham McCormac of Clontarf in Brisbane's north - who was then hospitalised with a ruptured spleen.

QCAT said the investigation was "a relic of earlier armed service orderly room procedure". "It may be satisfactory for dealing with minor disciplinary infringements, but it leaves much to be desired in more serious matter like the present," QCAT documents said.

"In the original proceeding before Deputy Commissioner (Kathy) Rynders there was no prosecutor, and no witnesses were seen or heard. "The material was assembled by an investigator with power to require member of the police service to answer his questions; that material was sent to his superiors and in due course Sergeant Chapman was directed to appear before Deputy-Commissioner Rynders, which he did with counsel."

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson refused to comment on QPS's handling of the matter.

It's the second time QPS had been overruled by QCAT in as many months, after doubling the penalty for a Sunshine Coast senior constable who had a party in the police station with people of "questionable" backgrounds.

A police spokeswoman said in a statement that the findings were noted and that it would be "inappropriate to comment further at this stage" as the matter has been adjourned to early December, where sanctions would be determined.

Crime and Misconduct Commission chairman Martin Moynihan told Police Minister Neil Roberts that QPS had a problem with "inadequate supervision and intervention in the context of operational policing".

The Chapman case was one of four referred to QCAT by the CMC in the past year.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Killer cop faces probe into $100,000 compensation claim

FORMER Palm Island policeman Chris Hurley is still facing a probe into whether he dishonestly claimed $100,000 in compensation over riots in the aftermath of the Mulrunji death in custody.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission has ruled insufficient evidence to pursue allegations of assault, lying and collusion against the now Gold Coast based senior-sergeant.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine in his findings of the third inquest into the 2004 Palm Island death in custody recommended in May the CMC investigate the allegations and potential for any new charges.

Six years on, the police officer acquitted of the manslaughter of Cameron Doomadgee and cleared of the latest inquiry into alleged assault and collusion is still under investigation for alleged insurance fraud.

Prominent criminal barrister Jeff Hunter, SC, is likely to brief the new Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in coming weeks on whether to pursue criminal insurance fraud charges against Sen-Sgt Hurley.

Mr Hunter was asked to investigate whether Sen-Sgt Hurley sought to profit by making three compensation claims after rioters burnt down his house and police station three days after Doomadgee was found dead on the floor of a Palm Island jail cell.

The Aboriginal father-of-one, known as Mulrunji, died on November 19, 2004, after a watchhouse scuffle with Sen-Sgt Hurley. He had broken ribs, a ruptured portal vein and his liver was cleaved almost in two after what Sen-Sgt Hurley described as a tussle and complicated fall. Sen-Sgt Hurley did not return calls on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, six police officers who investigated the Palm Island death and were recommended by the CMC for disciplinary action after the alleged whitewash of police investigating police are still waiting in limbo. "Entire lives and careers are on hold," said one of the officers, who asked not to be named.

Former Deputy Commissioner Kathy Rynders is heading the inquiry into what disciplinary action the six officers should face after the damning findings of the CMC's Palm Island report.

Palm Island mayor Alf Lacey said the six officers "cannot be let off the hook". "They can try to close their book but the wider community will not shut the book on this ugly chapter," he said. "(Police Commissioner) Bob Atkinson and the police hierarchy need to get their act together and discipline those six officers who protected their own and covered up this injustice." [Dear Kathy will let them off lightly. Never fear]


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crooked Qld cops off the hook

Watchdog says there will be no new charges over Doomadgee Palm Island death

NO new charges will be laid against officers involved in the Palm Island death in custody, said the Crime and Misconduct Commission yesterday.

The CMC was responding to allegations made by Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine at his coronial inquest in May, the third into the 2004 death of Cameron Doomadgee in a Palm Island watchhouse.

The allegations included assault, collusion and lies by the officers involved in the case, including Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, who originally arrested Doomadgee and was later acquitted of his manslaughter.

"The CMC considers that insufficient evidence exists to support criminal or disciplinary proceedings in relation to any of the allegations," a spokeswoman for the CMC said. [There's plenty of evidence. It should be for a jury to decide]


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Elite cops or Keystone Kops?

An alarming performance for people trusted with the State's most onerous and demanding duties -- and we won't mention naked "streaking" through the streets either. They're just cowboys high on testosterone -- very dangerous people

QUEENSLAND'S most highly trained police unit lost a high-powered rifle during a training session and narrowly avoided charges by Customs after importing weapons parts without the necessary permits.

The Special Emergency Response Team lost a semi-automatic rifle overboard during a counter-terrorism exercise in Moreton Bay in May, documents released under Right to Information revealed. Despite six police divers searching the area for 39 hours, the weapon _ which was unarmed and inoperable _ could not be found.

Police were satisfied the gun would remain on the seabed rather than get washed ashore, due to its weight and design. They also were confident it would corrode quickly. However, Assistant Commissioner Brett Pointing said training exercises by divers and Water Police had been planned for the same area. "The dive squad will continue to search and dive in this area well into the future," he said in an executive briefing.

In another embarrassment for the elite unit, Customs intervened when three restricted weapons parts arrived in Australia from the US addressed to Queensland police in November 2008. SERT armourers ordered the items from the US to save money but they failed to get the necessary import permits.

Although an investigation found the armourers "acted under an honest and reasonable but mistaken belief in relation to the imported parts", the items were destroyed by Customs and had to be re-ordered.

Geoff Jones, of the Sporting Shooters Association, said the Customs incident highlighted the "paranoia" that existed in relation to guns. "We've got everyone spinning out and frightened of the dark. It's almost laughable now," said Mr Jones.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

320 criminal offences by NSW police

MORE than 100 police officers have been charged with 320 criminal offences over the past two years, ranging from drug dealing to aggravated sexual assault, drink-driving and unlawfully altering official records, NSW Police data obtained by the Herald show.

The most common charges against 117 officers arrested during the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10 were for assault and drink-driving, the figures show. Assault made up 27 per cent of the main charges. Driving offences, mostly drink-driving, were second with 18 per cent.

The data, obtained by the Herald under the NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, only shows the 117 main charges for each officer and does not include secondary charges.

Over the past month alone, a further six officers have been charged with 17 offences, including one who allegedly deleted official records after allegedly failing to investigate two incidents, including a car crash.

Another officer, Probationary Constable Peter Giallombardo, 31, attached to the south-west metropolitan region, is due to face court tomorrow. He is charged with four offences in relation to a seriously disabled woman including aggravated sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent. Mr Giallombardo has yet to enter a plea. On his social networking page on Netlog, where his nickname is AlfieWog19, Mr Giallombardo says he is "easy going and like [sic] to joke around and have fun". He has been stood down from the force.

Another male officer is due to face court this month charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a woman in Newcastle in March.

Two others were charged over drug offences this month, including a senior constable attached to the central metropolitan region who is facing three counts of supplying a prohibited drug. He was allegedly already suspended from duty and facing court on other criminal matters.

Two weeks ago a former officer, Glen Campbell, was jailed for 17 months and banned from driving for 10 years after recording a blood-alcohol reading almost eight times the legal limit (.395). In November he drove into a shopping centre car park, hit another vehicle and collapsed face-first on to the concrete, still wearing his police overalls. On his way to Gosford Local Court in June he was pulled over again and recorded .253.

Jennifer Louise Edgerton was fined $1000 last month and disqualified from driving for one year after recording four times the legal limit (.203) after crashing her car on the central coast.

There are 25 high-range and 47 mid-range driver offenders serving in the NSW Police Force, the Industrial Relations Commission was told this year during the case of a former long-serving officer, Robert McGhee, who unsuccessfully sought reinstatement after being sacked for drink-driving and other breaches.

Twenty-five police officers were "removed" from the force in 2009-10 and four more resigned as a result of disciplinary procedures, the NSW Ombudsman's 2009-10 annual report says.

The Police Minister, Michael Daley, said the "vast majority" of officers were "honest, loyal and upstanding" men and women. "Unfortunately there have been some instances of officers who have abused their position and broken the law," he said. "No police officer is above the law, and if any officer breaks the law they will face the full consequences of their actions."

Scott Weber, president of the Police Association of NSW, said officers were "human and occasionally make mistakes". He said there was an inflated number of officers prosecuted because the Director of Public Prosecutions was required to hold them to a higher standard than the public.

"With that in mind, the relatively low number of charges laid against the state's 15,500 police officers are a credit to the force." [Not counting the one who get away without being charged, of course]

Thug W.A. cops finally under scrutiny

THE Corruption and Crime Commission has taken over investigations by Police and the Department of Corrective Services into the repeated use of Tasers on Watch House inmate Kevin Spratt.

Commissioner Len Roberts-Smith QC said the Commission had issued a direction for the Police and the Department of Corrective Services to stop any active investigations they may be undertaking.

However, Police will continue to assist the DPP in his consideration of whether to charge the police officers involved in the use of Taser weapons in the watch-house on August 31, 2008.

Mr Roberts-Smith said the Commission’s investigation will focus initially on determining the circumstances surrounding five separate incidents involving Mr Spratt and the use of Taser weapons. These incidents are:

* Police threatening Mr Spratt with Taser weapons on the day before the watchhouse incident (30 August 2008);

* The police use of Taser weapons against Mr Spratt in the watch-house (31 August 2008);

* Police use of Taser weapons when arresting Mr Spratt (6 September 2008);

* Police use of Taser weapons on Mr Spratt in the watch-house (6 September 2008), and

* Department of Corrective Services staff use of Taser weapons to remove Mr Spratt from a watch-house cell (6 September 2008).

Mr Roberts-Smith said the Commission’s investigation will also look at the conduct of any internal investigations. “There is a high level of public interest in the circumstances surrounding these incidents and the investigations into them,'' Mr Roberts-Smith said. “It is in everyone’s interest that these matters are investigated thoroughly and that the outcome be placed on the public record. “At this stage it has not been determined how the result of the Commission’s investigation will be made public,” he said. [Coverup coming?]

Victoria police finally has to admit fault

But they spent a lot of taxpayers' money trying to avoid doing so. It tells you a lot about their dishonest mentality. Note also their policy of not prosecuting Muslims. They are a parody of a police force

VICTORIA Police spent almost $300,000 of taxpayers' money on a failed attempt to beat an officer's complaint that he was called a "f---ing wog" by a superior.

Former senior sergeant Mario Benedetti, who last month won a bravery award for running into a burning house to save a sleeping couple, secretly taped the insults in 2008.

He said he would not have taken the matter further had he not been called a "wog" during a meeting with fellow officers. Mr Benedetti said even after he decided to take action, it could have been ended with an apology, averting the expensive 12-month legal stoush. "It's absurd that they spent that sort of money," he said.

Documents obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information show how police command continued to write big cheques before giving up and settling with Mr Benedetti, who quit the force earlier this year.

At the height of its spending, Victoria Police coughed up $85,000 in one month to defend four members against Mr Benedetti's claims there was a "sustained and systematic campaign to subject me to detriment on the basis of race, impairment, industrial activity and employment activity". Last November, police command told the Herald Sun it rejected Mr Benedetti's complaint and the allegations would be defended.

It was not the first time Mr Benedetti - the former officer-in-charge at Moonee Ponds police station - had stood up to top brass. In November 2008, he spoke out in anger after charges he laid against members of an out-of-control mob were quietly dropped, without consultation. He said at the time he suspected the charges might have been dumped because the youths set to face court were of north African descent. He said he was later investigated for speaking out.

Mr Benedetti was last month awarded the Royal Humane Society's highest honour for risking his life while off duty at a fire in Preston.

Police Association secretary Sen-Sgt Greg Davies said it was a shame the matter was allowed to drag on to such an expensive conclusion. "If you're going to settle something, it's good sense to do so before the matter runs out of control," he said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force "recognises that litigation is expensive and can take time" and did everything it could to avoid that process. [Really???]


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Senior Queensland police officers should get back on the beat, says report

QUEENSLAND'S top police have been told to get out from behind the comfort of their desks and back on the beat with front-line officers. A confidential report handed to Queensland's senior officers says everyone from the commissioner down should be leading by example and joining crews on patrols.

The commissioner would only do a shift a year, but inspectors, superintendents and other senior officers would sign up for a shift a month on the front line.

The report, obtained by The Sunday Mail under Right to Information laws, was handed to Commissioner Bob Atkinson at the height of the Operation Tesco corruption debate earlier this year. It says regularly putting senior officers with junior police would stop the "slippery slope" to corruption and abuse of power.

The report team, which included former ethical standards command boss and now Central Region Assistant Commissioner Alan Davey, said police chiefs need to "walk the talk" for their juniors. "It is recommended that non-commissioned officers undertake more general duties and patrols, particularly at night, to provide judgment and leadership to junior officers," the report said.

Mr Davey said his region's senior officers were already hitting the beat, with inspectors and superintendents spending more time with front-line police, particularly on late-night shifts beyond their traditional office hours. The former ethical standards commander said young officers appreciated having "wiser heads" around.

Already adopted from the report is a hit list of indicators of possible corruption, including sloppy dressing, tardiness and excessive drinking, which police managers in the state's Central Region have been told to look out for.

Corrupt police are made, not born, the report says, warning that serious corruption starts with small infringements such as free drinks that, unchecked, can grow into major crimes such as drug dealing.

Another report, the CMC's annual survey of police ethics released this week, found a growing trend among recruits not to report their colleagues for corrupt behaviour such as excessive force to move a person on or doing registration checks to get the address of a good-looking woman.

The CMC said Queensland police are more ethical than they were 15 years ago, with the majority viewing improper behaviour as serious and inexcusable and a growing number of police willing to report matters to senior officers.


Police used confiscated booze to stock social club fridges - claim

BOOZE confiscated from the public has allegedly been used to stock police social club fridges.

In another blow to the integrity of the Queensland Police Service, the crime watchdog has again launched a corruption investigation into police based at a station south of Brisbane.

It is understood the Crime and Misconduct Commission was already monitoring the behaviour of some of the officers at the centre of the new inquiry, and had collected information by phone tapping. Police referred inquiries to the CMC, which refused to comment yesterday.

Only two months ago Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson announced measures to provide greater levels of accountability at the Gold Coast. It was sparked after the CMC launched the covert Operation Tesco, an 18-month investigation into the behaviour of police allegedly taking drugs and accepting free drinks at nightclubs.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crime and Misconduct Commission calls for Qld. police commissioner to be more accountable

THE Crime and Misconduct Commission has insisted Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson's new contract make him accountable for officer bad behaviour after claiming the force was unwilling and reluctant to fix problems.

In a confidential letter to Police Minister Neil Roberts about Mr Atkinson's reappointment, CMC chairman Martin Moynihan said investigations showed "inadequate supervision and intervention in the context of operational policing" and "continued unwillingness ... to counter unauthorised access of the police computer system".

Several allegations of system abuse were revealed earlier this year, including a police constable accused of rape and stalking who logged in under another officer's name to check the background of a girlfriend's former fiance, and a senior female detective who was accused of stealing money from the station's social club.

"In my view the conditions of Mr Atkinson's reappointment for a further three years should provide some recognition of the need to effect improvement in these areas, thus imposing upon the Commissioner of Police accountability for occasional and systemic failure in the areas of supervision and unethical behaviour," he said.

The letter written in April this year, which was obtained by The Courier-Mail under Right to Information, followed a spat between the State Government and Mr Moynihan over the handling of Mr Atkinson's reappointment. Mr Moynihan claimed he hadn't been informed before Premier Anna Bligh's decision but the Government denied this, saying meeting notes showed evidence to the contrary.

Mr Atkinson said at a public hearing into systemic issues identified during an investigation into allegations of police misconduct on the Gold Coast, that any failure of professional standards by members needed to be addressed in a "swift, proportionate and balanced manner".

The CMC's Operation Tesco examined allegations of inappropriate associations with criminals, drug use, misuse of confidential police information and resources, leadership and supervision, and acceptance of gratuities.

The CMC released a statement this week saying its relation with QPS was "not aggressive but reflective of healthy co-operation".

"This co-operation, however, will not always mean that we'll reach consensus - nor should it," the statement said. "If the CMC is to maintain high standards of integrity within the QPS and other public sector organisations, it is inevitable that there will be disagreement from time to time."


Friday, November 12, 2010

Former Qld. cop jailed for stealing a pistol and swapping it with a friend for two surfboards

The Gold Coast cops again

A former Gold Coast cop who swapped a police pistol for two surfboards has been sentenced to two years' jail, but will be free in six months. Christopher Morris Curtin stole the Glock .22 handgun from the gun safe at the Surfers Paradise police station in 2001 and swapped it with a mate, a NSW surfboard maker and convicted drug dealer, for two boards.

Southport District Court was told the surfboard maker, Brian Kellway, wanted the gun for pig shooting. [A .22 for shooting pigs? Tell us another one!]

The weapon was traced back to Surfers Paradise police station after it was on-sold several years later for $5000 to an undercover NSW police officer.

Curtin, who quit the Queensland Police Force in 2008 and became a wildlife carer, pleaded guilty to aggravated stealing and possession of tainted property. Judge Kerry O'Brien said he accepted Curtin had stolen the gun to help a friend rather than a crime figure. But he told Curtin: "The community expects police, those charged with detecting things, not to succumb to such behaviour.''

He jailed Curtin for two years, but orderered the sentence be suspended after six months.


Ludicrous: Crime rates down in Queensland – but there are more murders, assaults, computer fraud and traffic offences

MURDERS, assaults, computer fraud and traffic offences have risen in Queensland in the past year but the overall rate of crime has fallen.

Police Minister Neil Roberts and Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart have released the 2009-2010 police statistical review, hailing it as a positive result.

But the report shows spikes in some of the most serious crimes, with nine more murders last year compared with the previous year, assaults up six per cent and over 18,000 fraud offences.

Police also issued more traffic fines and there was a 53 per cent leap in disqualified drivers.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Qld. cops don't dob on cops: report

A new report on police ethics has found some officers would not dob in [incriminate] a colleague who stole confiscated drugs and sold them on the street. The 158-page report released by the Crime and Misconduct Commission today, is based on surveys of recruits and first-year constables conducted between 1995 and 2008.

Although the commission found several positive developments over time including a majority view by police that "improper behaviour is serious and inexcusable", it also identified a number of worrying trends. They included a widespread reluctance among junior officers to formally report misconduct to the police service or the CMC, with about half saying they would not dob in an officer who stole drugs and sold them on the street.

The findings also revealed the majority of recruits and first year constables believed whistleblowers were likely to be ostracised by their peers. "Over two-thirds of recruits and 80 per cent of FYCs agreed that an officer who reported misconduct was likely to be 'given the cold shoulder'," the report said.

The commission has stressed the need for ongoing ethics training, emphasising the seriousness of all improper behaviour by police and at the same time raising awareness of and compliance with QPS policies and legislative obligations.


Monday, November 8, 2010

More Qld. cops who think they are judge and jury

Sunshine Coast police have been accused of negligence after punishing a teenager for riding without a helmet by forcing him to deflate his bike’s tyres, then leaving him stranded near bushland several kilometres from home.

Sippy Downs 15-year-old Josh Maday was pulled over by two officers about 3pm Saturday while riding his BMX bike on Claymore Road. Instead of issuing him with a warning for not wearing a helmet, the officers forced Josh to deflate his tyres so the bike couldn’t be ridden. He had no mobile phone credit and no option but to push his bike 3km home.

The Mountain Creek High School student’s mother agrees Josh was in the wrong for not wearing a helmet but believes the police response was way out of line. "It’s the first time he’s ever been pulled over and I understand the importance of helmets and I tell him to wear it all the time," Anne Dyer said. "He didn’t have it on him and there’s no excuse for that but they forced him to let the tyres down and wouldn’t let him go any further. "With the whole Daniel Morcombe case in the air you’d think they wouldn’t just leave him on the side of the road."

The officers called into Ms Dyer’s house to notify her of Josh’s situation but she wasn’t home. With his mobile phone out of credit, the teenager proceeded to make the half-hour trek home on foot.

"I’ve heard of kids getting a warning and with the bike laws, as a general rule, they’re supposed to give a warning, caution and then fine," Ms Dyer said. "I can understand them giving him a fine but I’ve never heard of a police officer deflating tyres. "It’s not uncommon for kids to ride around without a helmet but it’s like they were on a mission that afternoon and used him as an example."

Ms Dyer has since spoken to one of the officers involved, who defended his actions.

In a statement issued to the Daily, a Queensland Police spokeswoman said the officers used their "discretion" but declined to confirm whether deflating tyres was part of police protocol. "The officers used their discretion to deal in the manner they thought was most appropriate considering the full circumstances of the interaction with the young person," she said.

"By taking this course of action, rather than issuing an infringement notice and $100 penalty, they avoided a repetition of the offence, and possible injury to the juvenile. "We acknowledge that in retrospect there may have been more appropriate ways of managing the situation."


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crooked cop off the hook

Victoria's peak corruption fighter says it is powerless to take action on "Officer X", a serving Victoria Police member linked to gangland figures, a multi-million dollar armed robbery and a drug house.

Senior police sources are flabbergasted the Office of Police Integrity has said it is unable to tackle the matter.

Today the Sunday Herald Sun reveals details of the internal police case against the veteran detective - Officer X - including alleged links to gangland patriarchs George Williams and Lewis Moran. Key links include:

WHEN police raided an unoccupied drug house in country Victoria, Officer X called investigators to admit he owned the property.

PHONE calls between an ex-cop friend of Officer X and the Broadmeadows home of crime boss George Williams.

SURVEILLANCE of Officer X being driven in Moran's car to a Tabaret car park, where the pair spoke.

A DETECTIVE Inspector said there was also "past known dubious association" between Officer X and the Moran family.

TAPED conversations between Officer X and Moran.

HOLES in Officer X's story of how he was tied up while guarding $4 million of cigarettes stolen in a heist police believe was masterminded by Lewis Moran a decade before his murder in 2004.

HIS ownership of properties across the nation.

When questioned by the Sunday Herald Sun over the alleged offences, Officer X - who is not being named for legal reasons - said: "I have nothing to say about those."

An ex-police inspector made a case to the Office of Police Integrity in 2007, provided documents and told it of existing files allegedly implicating the sergeant.

Three years later, the OPI said it was dropping the matter because files on Officer X that were meant to be with the Ethical Standards Department had vanished.

Senior police sources are angry the OPI has not tackled the matter. Former Detective Inspector Paul Newman advocated an internal probe of Officer X in 2002 but has been disappointed by the results. When contacted by the Sunday Herald Sun, ex-Insp Newman said: "I would have thought if the OPI were going to do a thorough investigation, they would come and interviewed me. I have not been approached."

Police received intelligence that Officer X's ex-cop friend -"Birdy" - was approaching officers for help setting up the country Victoria drug house. Internal investigators concluded "a probable inference could be drawn that a conspiracy had already taken place between (Birdy) and (Officer X)". More than 50 calls were made between Officer X and Birdy in the lead-up to the drug house being raided.

Officer X's explanation for owning the drug house was that it was an investment property he rented out. But the man Officer X nominated as his tenant denied all knowledge and said he had previously lost his wallet at the scene of a house fire and thought someone may have obtained his details then.

Birdy, remarkably, was the man who discovered Officer X tied up after the multi-million dollar cigarette heist, but Birdy's statement taken by police after the heist does not mention why he was there.

In the lead-up to the robbery, Birdy made several calls to the Prince of Wales Hotel in Flemington. Police concluded those calls would have been to communicate with Moran. There has never been an internal probe of the cigarette heist

The Sunday Herald Sun spoke to 12 sources for this story, including senior former and serving detectives. "Anything you hear about Officer X is true ... his continued survival in the job is not a closed secret but an open joke," one said.

Some said he had also come under a cloud for associating with disgraced officer Denis "Lard" Tanner.

In 2002, police reported that a month after meeting Lewis Moran at the Tabaret, Officer X called Moran and the pair agreed to meet at a suburban KFC. Officer X did not record either meeting in his police diary nor notify any of his superiors.

A police spokeswoman said there had been two "very thorough" investigations. "On both occasions the allegations were found to be unsubstantiated," she said. "These investigations remain open and if further evidence came to light, both matters would be re-examined. "There is no active ESD investigation involving this member."


Friday, November 5, 2010

Qld. police watchdog accuses Deputy Police Commissioner Kathy Rynders of bungling disciplinary decision

Cops covering for cops, as usual

The crooked bitch above

The Crime and Misconduct Commission has delivered a scathing assessment of the objectivity of Deputy Police Commissioner Kathy Rynders as she prepares to discipline six officers involved in the Palm Island investigation.

In a hearing before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, CMC barrister John Allen suggested Ms Rynders got virtually nothing right when she ruled misconduct charges against an officer accused of assault were unsubstantiated.

Sergeant Damien Chapman is alleged to have punched a 15-year-old boy under his ribs during his arrest at Clontarf, north of Brisbane, in May 2007. The complainant, now 18, was diagnosed as having a severely ruptured spleen after he began vomiting in pain at the Redcliffe police watchhouse shortly after his arrest.

Although doctors found the injury must have occurred within the two hours before his arrival at hospital, Deputy Commissioner Rynders decided it could not be proven that Sgt Chapman assaulted the boy.

Mr Allen told the tribunal yesterday there was no other plausible explanation for the injury, despite Ms Rynders finding it could have occurred while he was moving furniture at his house. He argued had that been the case, the boy would not have been able to flee Sgt Chapman when he arrived to arrest him over an alleged break and enter. "There is no record of any blunt force from behind being suffered by (the complainant) prior to his arrest," Mr Allen said.

He told the tribunal all Ms Rynders got right in her investigation was that the injury could not have occurred while the boy was being transported to the watchhouse. "There was simply no evidence to support that," Mr Allen said.

"(The complainant) has been consistent in his early complaint of assault by (Sgt Chapman). He's alleged an assault by police of a type that was consistent with the injury he received."

The CMC wants the tribunal to set aside Ms Rynders' ruling and sack Sgt Chapman for misconduct. Tribunal chairman James Thomas and senior member Susan Booth are expected to publish their decision in the next two weeks.

Ms Rynders is yet to decide on appropriate discipline for the six officers adversely mentioned in the CMC report on the police Palm Island death in custody investigations.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Qld. cops go berserk with Taser

The guy they were attending to had gone berserk but the police themselves were just as much out of control. The cop concerned should be charged with negligent homicide

POLICE repeatedly fired a Taser into a man until a spark "like a piece of lightning" shot out of his chest, an inquest has heard.

Witness Sandra Wynne yesterday told an inquest into the death of north Queensland man Antonio Galeano, 39, how she begged a police officer to stop firing the 50,000-volt device. "His face turned black," she said. "I could hear the buzzing of the Taser and Tony screaming in pain. "Every time I could see a little spark, like a piece of lightning, coming out of his chest. "I said to them: 'How many times can you hit him with that bloody thing until you kill him?' "

She broke into tears as she told the inquest how she watched as her lover died and his "eyes rolled back in his head".

Ms Wynne, a mother-of-two, had called police to calm her drug-addicted partner, who was naked and covered in blood, as he destroyed her flat in Brandon, south of Townsville, on June 12 last year. Galeano had torn out chunks of her hair, smashed furniture and thrown a television through a window.

Data collected from the Taser showed it was activated 28 times during the incident. Ms Wynne said police did nothing to try to resuscitate Galeano. "I was watching him die and they were doing nothing," she said.

The inquest heard earlier an officer had performed chest compressions after noticing Galeano was not breathing, but did not attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because they did not have a mask with them.

Galeano had been treated and released from the mental health unit at Townsville Hospital a day earlier and was "very emotional and upset", claiming he had been beaten up by police, the inquest heard.

It also emerged Senior Constable Craig Myles, who fired the device, had never before used the Taser in the field. Inspector Ron Sakzewski, who headed the internal police investigation into the incident, said Sen-Constable Myles had attended a one-day Taser training course a month before the incident. He said training practices had been revised since Galeano's death.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Innocent drivers test positive for drugs

Nearly four per cent of people who test positive for drug driving in Victoria and have their licences temporarily suspended are innocent, it emerged today.

Victoria Police today admitted that wrong results were part of the testing process but said it would not change its procedures.

Under the current system, drivers' saliva is tested for cannabis, ecstasy or amphetamines at the roadside and banned for up to 12 hours if they return a positive result. But penalties or permanent bans are not issued until the sample is tested at a drug laboratory, which police say is 100 per cent accurate. [That's a laugh!]

The new statistics emerged after it was revealed today that Geelong man Rory Lalor recently recorded a false positive test and was banned from the behind the wheel for four hours. Mr Lalor paid $115 for an independent test that showed his system was free from illegal drugs, but Victoria Police said yesterday he would never have been fined or banned from driving permanently because his saliva swab was found negative by its laboratory.

Inspector Martin Boorman said today that false positives could be returned if equipment was faulty, if test was not conducted correctly or if the sample itself was problematic but did not elaborate on the last point. He said they were an unfortunate part of the procedure and that 62 of 1618 drug driving tests sent to the laboratory, or 3.8 per cent, had been found to be false.

But he said Victoria Police had accepted this since random drug testing was introduced in 2006 and would not be changing its methods. "I apologise for the inconvenience of these people, but I make no apologies for what we're doing," he said.

Inspector Boorman said police had detected 1556 drug drivers that were potentially a danger to themselves and others on the road.